So, this school year and the bus schedule…not so much.
Last year, during summer school, I started Benji on the bus for school. It’s part of his IEP since we live a gazillion miles (actually just more than 2) away from his school, but I didn’t put him on right away because he was so young, and I just wasn’t sure if he was ready. And of course, he took to the bus like a duck to water, and has enjoyed it ever since. In fact, he was a little put out this summer when summer school was within the zone of “take him your damn self!” and he didn’t get to ride the bus. (he wasn’t the only one put out.)
Anyway, we have had absolutely wonderful experiences with his bussing so far. Last year’s driver was a wonderful caring man who greeted Benji each day with a smile and a hug! When his bus would turn the corner, it was like angels singing and a divine light would shine upon that golden chariot. Or it was just the morning sun peeking through the trees. Still—not ONE complaint last year.
Then we started this year.
First day of school: AM bus never arrived to pick Ben up.
Ok. First day. Sure. Shit happens. This IS Los Angeles. Traffic has been known to be an issue at times. *ahem*
There was some sort of mangled phone call letting us know it was the bus driver, but I think we need an expert linguist to translate what she said in the message.
For the PM bus, Ben has a different driver daily. I don’t know why—it must be that not all the kids are dropped off at home, but rather at day care centers around town. Or they are finding new and exciting ways to use up as much of their resources as possible. Or maybe they’ve got too many drivers hanging around like a bad episode of taxi, and the dispatchers are just trying to get a little peace and quiet.
ANywhores, the bus was late that first day—but the PM bus isn’t always consistent, and I usually give it a 20 minute window in which I play angry birds and check my horoscope. (yay smart phones!)
THAT bus driver drove right past me. It was the one time in my life I wish I had that whole fingers-in-the-mouth-whistle thing. Instead she stopped a block away. At least she stopped.
Day 2: bus arrives! A little late, but ok. HOWEVER, there is a trash truck coming the opposite direction.
[aside: let me digress a bit to describe my street. We live in the Hollywood hills, and our street is one of those windy bastards that prolly should be a one way street, but isn’t. And people park like shit. And trash cans—well, trash cans are a problem everywhere, but here they are like a herpes outbreak that just can’t be hidden.]
And that trash truck wasn’t going to STOP picking up that trash until he was done with that row of cans.
*cue Good Bad &Ugly music*
But eventually he dumped all the Monster and Red Bull cans into his truck and then forced the bus driver to back up a tad while he forced his way by. It all happened in a 5 minute span and did not seem like a big deal.
Except that it was.
The AM bus driver called me later wanted to change the spot where she picks up Ben. (to a fucked up hairpin turn area in which she’d have to make a gazillion point turn to turn around, btw) She questioned whether he had actually been picked up in front of the house last year, (which he was) and then told me the street was too crowded, “and there’s the garbage truck”
Not wanting to add 10 more minutes to my son’s already tight morning schedule, I asked her to try it a few more days to see that the road isn’t really the problem. For which I received a terse response and phone click.
(good news—the PM bus that day arrived on time with no problems. It CAN be done!)
Day three: AM bus is late. Whatevs.
PM bus. Late. Later. Latest. The 20 minute window is done and gone. Dispatcher is called—turns out I am the second parent to call. Bus driver is not answering his radio.
Start mommy freak out. I call my husband, in tears. I am imagining horrible accidents, there’s a police helicopter flying overhead, Ben’s ABA therapist shows up, I forget to crate the dog, it’s like a trifecta of emotional hubhub and I’m about to cut a bitch.
I get a call from the dispatcher that the bus is at the stop before me, and that he is just moving remarkably slow. Since he wasn’t answering on his radio, they had to find him using the GPS. The dispatcher spends a great deal of time telling me all sorts of crap about how he will be “spoken to” and that this driver will not be driving the route tomorrow, etc. I just wanted to know my kid was OK. But I sensed he was either a) covering his butt or b) getting his own frustrations out. Ok. I can listen for a minute. My kid is safe.
So the bus arrives, the bus driver (using protocol) asks for my husband (because invariably I am never on the pick-up list) but luckily before I shivved that mofo, my husband arrived home, charmed him with his smile and a snarky “would you like to see my son’s ID too?” (seriously, how did the driver not pick up on that?) , showed him his ID and retrieved our son from the golden dragon of doom. I start up the driveway as to not hurl obscenities or my own fecal matter at this asshat.
And as I climb the stairs, I turn once more to shoot a glare at the offending yellow beast, only to see it side-swipe a truck parked by the drive and speed off.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
I tell my husband and he runs down the drive (have I mentioned that it’s like a 10 minute walk from our front door to the end of the drive, like at a 20% grade?) and sees a large yellow dent/stripe on the truck.
Seriously. I know this sounds like I’m making it up now. But really.
So, I called the dispatcher, AGAIN to report this idiot, and then handed it off to my husband who is far more efficient at collecting information from truculent state workers.
Later, I have to make a statement to the CHP (apparently SOMEONE says he didn’t hit the car) who is parked 2 deep in front of the house just as our ABA field supervisor shows up.
You can’t even write this shit for TV. They would laugh you out of the meeting.
This morning is only the 4th day of school. FOURTH. Seriously, I’m about to take my sage and some candles and my book of spells and purify the end of our driveway, because it appears to be a gateway straight to the bowels of hell. Or I’ll just take Ben to school myself. Because sitting in LA traffic might just be more soothing. Really.